One-year-old FTMarketWatch.com broadens revenue streams

Europe’s leading financial news service partners with Merrill Lynch HSBC and Scottish Mutual and launches unique rich media advertising as it celebrates its first anniversary

LONDON -- Europe’s leading financial news site for the private investor, FTMarketWatch, today secured two partnerships with Merrill Lynch HSBC and Scottish Mutual.

The partnership with Merrill Lynch HSBC gives UK investors access to the award-winning research from Merrill Lynch and HSBC. Under the new agreement, Merrill Lynch HSBC will provide selected daily investment research reports from Merrill Lynch and HSBC to FTMarketWatch.com’s Analyst Research Centre, making them freely available to FTMarketWatch’s 430,000 unique monthly users. These reports will be either company or sector specific including economic and strategy research from some of the world’s leading economists and strategists. Merrill Lynch HSBC will join ABN Amro in sponsoring the Analyst Research Centre at www.FTMarketWatch.com.

FTMarketWatch.com and Scottish Mutual have entered into a syndication deal which will, for the first time, provide independent financial advisors with real-time news and commentary from FTMarketWatch’s team of European journalists.

The partnerships, in the wake of syndication deals with selftrade.co.uk, First Direct and Fidelity, demonstrate how FTMarketWatch has developed its revenue sources in what has been a challenging year for Internet companies.

“It has been a dynamic year for financial news sites,” said Zach Leonard, Chief Executive of FTMarketWatch. “We have discovered that by producing and owning our own content we have a unique commercial weapon which provides another revenue stream to offset variable advertising revenues. Syndicating editorial content such as the deal with Scottish Mutual goes hand in hand with our ability to license interactive charting capabilities through our Big Charts relationship. As a result, our current revenue allocation has evolved to 60% advertising and 40% non-advertising.”

Leonard continues: “The boom and bust of tech stocks has also left investors looking for more than just the news, with insight and speed being critical. In May, FTMarketWatch recorded its highest ever page views of 8.3 million, up 67% on the start of the year. It now has 430,000 unique users. This growing audience of private investors attracts major investment players like Merrill Lynch HSBC, who benefit from the targeted user audience of FTMarketWatch, bringing the site another form of ‘tenancy’ revenue as well as allowing us to continue to build unique and valuable services for our users.”

Advertising remains a central revenue stream for FTMarketWatch alongside syndication of news and data and partnerships. FTMarketWatch is the first UK financial Web Site to introduce a rich media window, alongside it’s current DHTML offering, allowing advertisers creative, dynamic and interactive new ways of reaching FTMarketWatch’s attractive demographic of private investors.

This month, IMIWeb, the online broker, was one of the first to take advantage of this new online advertising innovation.

In a separate editorial development, FTMarketWatch news headlines are now
displayed on the FT.com home page and FT.com Markets page, and
FTMarketWatch supplies the data, alerts and Market pulse services, and the content management system to the FT Mobile phone service launched on May 23rd.

Notes

About FTMarketWatch.com

Financial Times MarketWatch (www.ftmarketwatch.com) was launched in June 2000 to provide the private investor with real-time market news and analytical tools traditionally reserved for the city professional.

The site is the result of a joint venture between the Financial Times Group and MarketWatch.com, the Internet’s largest financial news site. FTMarketWatch.com services the growing online trading community in Europe.

Displaying a distinct pan-European approach by targeting the private investor right across Europe, the site launched initially in English. Five months after launching, FTMarketWatch.com launched a sister site -FTMarketWatch.de in Germany.

FTMarketWatch has firmly established itself as a provider of high quality financial and market news aimed at Europe’s rapidly growing community of private investors. Editorial excellence has been recognised with the award for Best Investment News Site at the Investors Week Online Finance Awards, and by being voted Best Investment and Market Information Website and one of the top 3 Websites of the Year by readers of find.co.uk, the leading UK financial services search directory.

FTMarketWatch’s award-winning reporters break market-moving stories, allowing site visitors to act early and profit. Its special reports give investors exclusive news stories they won't find on other major newswires - fast, accurate and to the point. And an array of columns on topics such as IPOs and technology stocks provide in-depth, up-to-the-minute coverage.

Alongside definitive market news and analysis, FTMarketWatch.com offers comprehensive data on all the major European exchanges and a portfolio tool that allows investors to track their holdings in over 20 currencies and chart them against a variety of sectors and indices.

Through its partnership with CBS MarketWatch the site can also supply clients with unrivalled real-time news on the US markets and outstanding charting functionality and portfolio tools with BigCharts.com.

The Financial Times Group is part of Pearson plc, the international media company.

About MarketWatch.com, Inc.

MarketWatch.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:MKTW), a leading financial media company, is the number one financial news and information source on the Internet. Founded in 1997, MarketWatch.com operates three web sites: cbs.marketwatch.com, bigcharts.com, and U.K.- based ftmarketwatch.com. In addition to offering top-notch financial reporting and investment tools on its web sites, MarketWatch.com licenses a wide array of content and tools in custom-designed formats for brokerages and other online businesses. The Company also produces the syndicated CBS MarketWatch Weekend program, airs financial reports over CBS Network Television, and provides updates every 30 minutes on the MarketWatch.com Radio Network. Editorial content from cbs.marketwatch.com is distributed in major newspapers and wireless networks.


About Merrill Lynch HSBC

Merrill Lynch HSBC is a 50:50 joint venture between Merrill Lynch and HSBC, formed in April 2000. It provides online financial services to affluent investors outside the U.S. who want to make informed decisions for themselves.

Last year the company launched services in Australia and Canada, and in the UK, a free equity research service for potential clients. Earlier this summer Merrill Lynch HSBC announced the launch of its full transactional service for UK private investors and the start of a commission free UK and US online trading offer, until 31 October 2001. The service gives UK investors access for the first time to the award-winning investment research from both Merrill Lynch and HSBC and a totally integrated multi-currency investment and banking account – the Merrill Lynch HSBC Investment and Banking Portfolio TM (IBP TM). Over the next four to five years the company plans to roll out its service globally to meet the growing demand for online investment and banking services.

 

Contacts

For more information or to arrange an interview with Zach Leonard, Chief Executive of FTMarketWatch, please call:

 

Joanna Manning-Cooper, Financial Times Group: 0207 643 1767

 

Anoushka Healy, Financial Times Group: 0207 873 3720

 

Emily-Jane Reed, Countrywide Porter Novelli: 0207 853 2253